\"...artful, witty, sumptuous, illuminating, elevating.\" A-, Entertainment Weekly
\"...sunny, whimsical, fairy-tale ballads.\" - 4 stars, Time Out New York
\"...delighfully old fashioned orchestration, decidedly contemporary lyrics.\" - Blender
\"...a florid orchestral fantasia that flickers like a luscious, precisely gardened flower bed teeming with hidden fauna. If butterflies could dance, this would be their soundtrack.\" - SPIN
Everloving Records is proud to present An Invitation, the latest release from Inara George. An Invitation is an intimate collaboration between Inara and legendary arranger Van Dyke Parks. The result is a lush, elegant, fully orchestrated song cycle, a catalog of experiences equally inspired by the sophistication of Frank Sinatra and the storied, cinematic wonder of Richard Sherman\'s oeuvre.
Not that this was Inara and Van Dyke’s first introduction. Inara’s father, Little Feat frontman Lowell George, and Van Dyke were great friends and collaborators. And when Inara was born in 1974 in Baltimore, Maryland (where her family had come for her birth while Little Feat recorded Feats Don’t Fail Me Now) Van Dyke was there to welcome her into the world. And even after the death of her father in 1979, Inara and Van Dyke continued to stay in touch throughout the years.
As Inara began to forge her way into a musical career, Van Dyke was always close at hand to offer sage advice and encouragement. And for both, there was a real desire for some kind of collaboration. In the past few years Inara has found her stride as a member of the band The Bird and the Bee (on Blue Note Records) and with the release of her first solo album, All Rise, (on Everloving Records). Both projects caught the attention of critics worldwide. And as Inara geared up to make her second solo record, an opportunity emerged for her and Van Dyke to finally make something together.
In 2002, Inara introduced Van Dyke to Mike Andrews, producer of All Rise and An Invitation. Mike was impressed by Van Dyke’s work with The Beach Boys, Harry Nilsson, The Byrds, and Joanna Newsom (just to name a few), and had always hoped to engage his arranging abilities in some capacity for Inara’s next record. But then Inara asked, ”What if we have him do the entire thing?” They asked, and Van Dyke accepted. And after months of preparation, the orchestra was recorded in a daring and excitement filled two-day live session at LA\'s historic Sunset Sound studios.
\"There are different characters in each piece, but it all feels like a connected event,\" says Van Dyke. \"There are certainly different scenes on the record, and that\'s what I like. And I think that takes real talent, as a writer, to fictionalize a reality the way Inara has done.\" An Invitation begins with an overture, echoing the sun-dappled landscapes of Aaron Copeland, filtered through the widescreen lens of Van Dyke\'s neoclassicist sensibility. Inara\'s voice enters in the second track, \"Right As Wrong,\" on a cloud of hushed strings, and carries the record through a series of vignettes that contrast the smoky poise of Chet Baker and Kurt Weill with the wide-eyed optimism of Leonard Bernstein.
Throughout the record, Van Dyke\'s cerebral (psychedelic, even) arrangements twist the music into multiple directions at once, a swirling canvas suspended over the sonic mantelpiece of Inara\'s songs, bewitching and perplexing, a truly organic achievement among friends in an era of artificial pleasures.
\"There was more love going through the glass with Inara and Van Dyke than any other record I\'ve worked on,\" says producer Mike Andrews. \"It was a family love. Very real.\"
We hope you experience it, too.